Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Monday, April 27, 2009

4 & 40

Monday, April 27, 2009 2

So Jake and I both celebrated our birthdays in February.  He turned 4 and I turned 40 on the 24th and 28th respectively.  

We had a little thing at the house for Jake.  He requested a strawberry cake.  I think he liked it.  Either that or he just got mooned.

There was also the group birthday party at the Allen's house.  

The Allen girls, Emily, Hannah and Madeline, are on the left.  The Jolly girls, McKenna and Macyn, are on the right.  That's Suzie wearing brown next to Jake.  She and McKenna are best friends.  Yup, my two boys surrounded by girls - just like their Dad back in the day.  

One of the reasons CJ enjoys going to the Allen's house is because of the Wii.

This one is actually from Easter at the Allen's.  Jake got a little too excited while hunting for Easter eggs and had a little dribble.  No big deal.  He just put on a pair of his best buddy Hannah's underwear.  Yup, just like his Dad back in the day.

So these pics are from my 40th birthday party at the house.  Carol was concerned that we were gonna have too many people in the house.  It worked out okay.  That's what hallways are for.

That's Tripp cutting the rug.  He's always a ball to be around.

Here are some of the birthday presents Tripp got for me.  Nice.  Throw in the little blue pill and now you're really talking.

Carol did a great job setting this all up for my 40th.  It was a blast singing, dancing, drinking and just having a good old time with friends.  You only turn 40 once, right?  Until next time -- C2

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Saturday, April 18, 2009 1
A sincere apology goes out to my horde of loyal fans and followers (all 3 or 4 of you) for not posting in a while.  I could blame work, the latest North Korean headlines, the piracy situation or military exercises for my tardiness, but the reality is I can't get anything done since that "Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent" video popped up on Youtube.

So Carol got her birthday present early this year.  We took an amazing family trip to Sydney, Australia.  Other than the severe language barrier, it was an unforgettable time.  I hope we get a chance to go back.  Carol has already posted some Australia pictures on Facebook but I just couldn't sleep at night if I didn't add my personal commentary to some of the pictures.  I've even added a couple of short videos.  Without further ado, I give you - the Trip to Oz:

I need to point out the little TV screens in each of the seats.  These were crucial to maintaining sanity on a 10+ hour flight to Australia.  They helped to minimize the fighting over the iPod between the boys.  We've learned to load up some "Handy Manny" and "Go Diego Go" shows for Jake on the iPod for long trips.  I guess he has an affinity for the hispanic animated dudes.  And yes, he likes Dora the Explorer too.

We're finally off the plane after flying through the night.  The little guy in between the Cruz boys is Scott.  He and Jake were born on the same day.  There were 15 of us that went on this MWR trip.

One of our first stops was in front of this nice body of water.  I'm not sure what that clam shell looking thing is behind us.  I might have to go back and photoshop it out of this picture.

I love the Aussies.  They don't like to complicate things.  For example, what did they name the opera house in Sydney?  The Sydney Opera House.  What did they name the bridge in the Harbor?  The Harbor Bridge.  I think if I lived in Australia, I would be called, Little Brown Man.

Way back when, some folks carved this seat out of rock for Mrs. McQuarters.  I think she was the wife of the Governor.  She could sit on this rock and see all the ships coming into the harbor.  Or maybe this rock is where moss was invented.  I don't know.  I need to listen to the tour guide better.

I'm not sure what all the rainbow flags meant in this part of town.  I think it had something to do with all the best restaurants being here.

The Blue Mountains.  Spectacular!  That's a waterfall in the middle.

You knew it was only a matter of time before we broke out the Pose!  Notice the fog rolling in.

The three peaks on the left are the famous Three Sisters.  Very Grand Canyon-esque.  I can't claim this photo.  It's actually a postcard.

Another postcard of the Three Sisters.  Why am I posting post cards, you might ask?  Well, it was a rather foggy day when we went to the Blue Mountains.  This is probably the only disappointment from a great trip.  It reminded me of the time when me and some of my Navy buds went to the Louvre in Paris and it was closed.  Anyway, the fog did manage to break a little bit, just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the Three Sisters.  Check out the video:

The Three Sisters

We took this cable car through the Blue Mountains.  Unfortunately, all we could see was a thick white layer of fog.  Oh well.  At least the kids didn't freak out over the crazy heights. They had no idea how high they were cause of all the fog.  

This rail car was almost like a roller coaster.  It's one of the steepest rail cars in the world.  

The pictures don't do justice to the steepness of this rail car.

And now on to some of the Australian wildlife.  The wombat was an adorable wallowing mud mammal.  Makes good adobo.  Here's a video of some of the other Aussie animals.  I especially liked the Tasmanian Devil who was awesome yet kinda creepy.

We caught "Monsters vs. Aliens" in 3D while in Sydney.  Near the beginning of the movie, CJ leans over to me and says, "Look!" while pointing to a bare foot that's been propped up on his armrest by the guy sitting behind him.  The foot is about 3 inches from CJ's face.  Not looking to cause an international incident, I tactfully turned behind me at the barefoot dude and said, "Dude?"  He promptly and apologetically removed his foot from CJ's armrest.  The guy obviously thought the seat in front of him was empty.  Side note for all you movie-goers out there - even if a seat is empty, don't be putting your bare feet in any seat unless it's in the comfort of your own house.  Sheesh!

Our hotel was at this beach - Bondi Beach.  In the background you can see a nice cliff area.  The tour guide recommended that we do the famous cliff walk over there.  We thought about it but then we said, nah.  Carol and I weren't up for lugging around a 30 pound ruck sack named Jake up and down some cliffs.  We opted for the breakfast buffet instead.

Putting out the vibe.  I kept my shirt on cause I didn't want to cause a riot with the ladies on Bondi Beach.

Jake's getting the hang of it.  This is in front of Saint Mary's Cathedral.  The Pope spoke at this cathedral not too long ago.

Better stop for now.  In short, Australia was incredible - fog, bare feet and all.  Carol got her Uggs, CJ got his boomerang and boxing kangaroo pen and Jake got to listen to the iPod.  Me, well I thought I wanted the little souvenir pouch made out of a kangaroo scrotum.  After holding the little pouch in my hand though, the thought of high-pitched kangaroo squeals kept lingering in my brain.  I decided against that purchase.  Heck, I'm just glad that a dingo didn't eat my baby.  Until next time.  C2

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trump World

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 3
We love our apartment.  What's not to love about living in a Trump Apartment?  There's no way we could afford a place like this in the US.  The apartment is in Centum City, the nicest part of Busan if you ask me.  It's very clean, safe and has lots of upscale shopping and good restaurants.  We're very close to the yacht club (not that we frequent that place), the brand new Shinsegae entertainment complex (more on that later) and right next door to the Busan Exhibition Convention Center (BEXCO).  There's always a lot going on over here.  We're a short walk from the Outback, McDonald's, Starbucks, two movie theaters, a drive in theater, three parks and a lot of other stuff.  The Shinsegae is two blocks away and is now the largest shopping mall in mainland Asia.  Along with all the shopping, the Shinsegae has an ice skating rink, world class spa, IMAX theater, golf driving range, world food court and market and a massive book store.  Anyway, here are some pics of the apartment:

The living room with the mountains in the background.  We're on the 29th floor.

The plasma TV came with the apartment.  Two of them actually.  The Korean table is one of our favorite pieces of furniture.  It has some cool carved designs in it.

More buildings and mountains out the window.

I'm wondering how many folks have high powered telescopes in Busan?

We're actually living in the Trump World II.  My predecessor lived in the Trump World I which you can see in the background of this picture.  We really should plug in this electric piano.

This is a brand new apartment.  I was knocked out when I saw the floors and all the cherry cabinets.

The kitchen / dining area.  Since CJ sits at the end of this table for meals, he likes to pretend he's Donald Trump at the board room.  Fortunately, he hasn't fired me yet.

The two yellow things are the pumelos Carol found at the Daegu commissary.  Delicious.  

The master bedroom.  This is where the magic happens.

One of these days, I'll actually use this thing.  CJ and Jake love taking baths here.  I'm wondering how many people I can moon at the same time.

CJ's room

Jake's room.  And there's Jake.


I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.  All you Navy guys out there - if you find the opportunity to get orders out to Korea, I'd jump all over it.  It's good living out here, especially in Busan.  I'm actively searching for a replacement for my XO right now.  He's in a very nice high-rise too and even closer to the beach than I am.  Anyway, off to Australia tomorrow.  Like I said, good living out here.  Until next time -- C2
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